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IK Multimedia AmpliTube X-Vibe review

From plugins to pedals, AmpliTube sounds arrive in physical form for all you pedalboard enthusiasts out there

IK Multimedia Amplitube X-Vibe
(Image: © Future / Phil Barker)

Our Verdict

All the modulation effects you’ll need, if you only use them one at a time.

For

  • Massive range of classic modulation sounds.
  • Presets easily saved and recalled.

Against

  • Speed changes in rotary mode are a bit disappointing.

IK Multimedia, the maker of the long-established AmpliTube guitar amp and effects emulation software, has introduced a series of four X-Gear pedals. There’s one each for modulation, reverb and delay, and the X-Drive, for drive, distortion, fuzz and so on. 

The X-Gear pedals have the same three-footswitch form factor with mono and stereo connectivity and full MIDI implementation. Each has 16 algorithms and up to 300 savable presets that can be managed with the included librarian app and used in AmpliTube 5. 

In addition, the necessary USB computer connection lets the pedal function as an audio interface for recording, with or without cab sim. While basically preset-based, the pedals have physical knobs to quickly adjust the main controls, while several more are accessed with a push-and-turn parameter knob. 

Presets and banks are easily recalled for live use and you get some useful performance features, such as being able to add an expression pedal and the X-Mode facility, which momentarily alters a parameter by holding down a footswitch.

IK Multimedia Amplitube X-Vibe

(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)

The X-Vibe modulation pedal’s three chorus algorithms offer pretty comprehensive cover, including good representations of the classic Boss chorus sound. For phasing and flanging, there is a range of very usable tones such as emulations of the Phase 90, Phase 100, Small Stone, Electric Mistress and MXR 117, plus a Uni-Vibe with both its chorus and vibrato modes available.

Speed change in the Rotary emulation is disappointingly limited to the X-mode ramping up to the maximum speed while the footswitch is held, although you could place slow and fast presets side by side on the pedal for an abrupt change between them. 

The Tremolo is generic but has all the necessary tools to shape a great sound, particularly in changing wave shape. Not as conventional as the rest, there’s the Step Slicer, which is great for making use of the tap tempo and throwing in some rhythmic effects, while Step Filter is a little more quirky in its synth sequencer stylings.  

Specs

  • PRICE: $329 / £299
  • ORIGIN: Italy
  • TYPE: Modulation pedal
  • FEATURES: Selectable True or Buffered bypass, tap tempo, librarian software and AmpliTube 5 SE included, Safe mode (locks knobs), cab sim, audio interface capability
  • EFFECTS: 80 Chorus, Chorus 1, Chorus X, 60 Vibe, Phazer 9, Phazer 10, Phazer CL, Fox, Stone, Electric, Doubler, Metallic, Rotary, Tremolo, Step Slice, Step Filter
  • CONTROLS: Model/Back, Preset/Save, Parameter, Speed, Depth, Bass, Mid, Treble, footswitch A, footswitch B, Tap footswitch
  • CONNECTIONS: Standard inputs (L/Mono, R), standard outputs (L/Mono, R), MIDI In, MIDI Out, Ext. Control, USB
  • POWER: Supplied 9V DC adaptor 260mA 
  • DIMENSIONS: 176 (w) x 144 (d) x 60mm (h) 
  • CONTACT: IK Multimedia

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Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.